Elvenpath - Gateways
Elvenpath is a German band that started in 2001 and shares the name with a song from Nightwish, although Nightwish does not appear to be one of their influences. Gateway is the second demo from the band and by looking at the album it appears to be very professional, with a colored booklet complete with lyrics and a disc printed with the bands name and logo on it, just like with a proper release.
Elvenpath deliver basically Power Metal in the German way and it sounds like their influences come from many places but the most obvious to me is early Blind Guardian with the raw sound and speed. Further you find comparisons with Iron Maiden with Elvenpath's complex guitar works, Rhapsody in the powerful refrains and galloping rhythms but also with the straighter attitude of Iced Earth and what perhaps comes as the biggest surprise, the early thrash/progressive metal from Fates Warning. A lot of bands mentioned there but that feels like the easiest way to give you a picture of what Elvenpath is about, and that is a lot. Long complex songs with many really good harmony parts, shiftings in tempo, power metal melodies and a good dose of solid heavy metal proves that the songwriting is perhaps their biggest strength. Five songs with an average length of eight minutes, and these are songs that sound good all of their running time and are filled with good stuff that don't make you lose interest, that is impressing.
Some of their weaknesses are that they sometimes sound to be trying a bit too hard, at times I think it would be wiser if the guys could keep it a bit simpler. And Elvenpath doesn't always sound as the tight band needed for their complex songs as it also tends to sound a bit sprawling. The vocals are also in serious need of improvement, it is not that he sings badly but it is far from clear and he has trouble with holding the notes, a bunch of singing lessons ought to give Michael Petrick the power to his voice needed to do justice to the songs. The guitar solos and harmonies are another of the strengths with Elvenpath. And I don't care that they sound much like Maiden, and sometimes very much alike. Somewhere In Time and Seventh Son seems to be the albums they have listened the most to judging from the guitar sound and the similarities in the musical parts. They might be borderline close to stealing from Maiden but they deliver those guitar parts so damn good that I let them slip away with it.
Since this demo was released a change has occurred in their line-up, vocalist/guitarist Michael Petrick and drummer Martin Weber has left the band because of growing musical differences. And they have been replaced by Kosma Banika on vocals, Heinrich Greiner on guitar and Markus Weitzel on drums.
also review of: Spyrol